WIE 2016_traingle photo

Special Report: Women in Events 2016

In our sixth annual special report, fresh insights, killer career advice and executive-level perspective from 12 of the industry’s top marketers


Event Marketer Women in EventsOur annual Women in Events dialogue continues this year with another impressive panel of female executives sharing their perspectives on everything from breaking through the glass ceiling (including some great ideas on the art of salary negotiation), to cultivating confidence at work and taking on the biggest challenge of them all: striking a work-life balance.

It’s an interesting time to be having the conversation. Salary data released by the Event Marketing Institute this year revealed that across several key positions on both the brand and agency side of the business, women still don’t make as much money as men. And while a few of the women who joined our conversation this year thought some of the talking points set the conversation back (fair enough!), most felt it was a good platform for weighing in on the unique opportunities available to women, and what women just starting in the events industry can do to carve out equitable careers.

The good news? According to the EMI study, there are some roles where women’s salaries are outpacing men’s. Women on the agency side, for instance, have a higher average base salary than men in several pivotal roles including Head of Creative (a traditionally male-dominated role), Senior Account Executive and Senior Director. The study also confirmed that women make up the majority of the workforce in the event industry. In fact, six out of 10 brand-side event marketers are women, with an even 50/50 split on the agency side.

We kick off our sixth annual Women in Events special report this year with profiles on 12 of the industry’s leading female marketers, followed by excerpts from two candid roundtable conversations that took place this summer in New York and Los Angeles, once again coproduced with leading event agency Sparks (sparksonline.com).

Thank you, ladies, for keeping it real. Onward and upward.


Co-produced with:



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Profiles: This Year's Women in Events

Dayna Adelman | Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Heineken USA
WIE 2016_Dayna AdelmanBest Tips For Striking a Work-Life Balance

I always have a vacation booked even before the one coming up has happened. I love to travel, and it’s a way in which I find balance. I always need something to look forward to, and I definitely am not ashamed to take advantage of my vacation time.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn To Do

Be bold. At Heineken, we are focused on fewer, bigger, bolder ideas. Find those few key moments where you can be bold, and you can go all in, and make it a truly meaningful and impactful experience.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Don’t ever be afraid to push back. We all get pressure from people above us and sometimes, you feel compelled to do whatever they suggest. But you have to be able to set parameters. If anything doesn’t support that aim or that objective that you’ve set at the beginning, don’t be afraid to push back.

Most-Listened-to Song on the Playlist

“My Shot” from the “Hamilton” soundtrack.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Executing our national distributor conference. It’s a really important moment for us in the business and I think we hit the nail on the head this year with something that I’ve been calling “functional entertainment,” where we found a [better] way to bring our content to life through the entertainment.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Trust. In this industry, you need the freedom to fly, to go big, to go bold. I always look for a leader who is going to put that trust and confidence in me, and then just let me do my thing.

Favorite Motto or Motivational Quote

“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion.”

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: limitless.”

Ashley Albrittain-Ross | Marketing Manager, Perrier
WIE-2016_Ashley-Albritain-RossBest Tips for Striking a Work-Life Balance

I remind myself of the importance of stopping for a moment. I take a lunch break or go to my favorite workout class or get together with a friend and allow myself to clear my mind. Coming back after those breaks is often when I find that extra inspiration or a totally new idea gets sparked. I have to give my brain that break that it needs.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn To Do

Networking has been a huge help and is critical to helping you learn about career opportunities. Meeting new people has brought me a lot of inspiration and developed connections that helped me grow in my personal and professional life.

Can’t-Live-Without Professional Tool (and Why You Love it)

My team. A team sparks creativity, it provides you with support, motivation, collaboration; it promotes learning, it ultimately helps you achieve success and it makes things more fun.

Most-Listened-to Song on the Playlist

“Greyhound” by Swedish House Mafia. Another place where I find balance and inspiration is through running. It’s a very high-energy song, so it definitely gets my blood pumping and my energy up.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I would love to get more young women involved in the industry, both in event marketing and in marketing in general. I think by creating more junior roles and developing younger, energetic minds, we will increase the innovation and diversity within this industry.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

I remind myself that I am the expert on the material and that, ultimately, I am presenting to teach and to learn and to inspire. And I remind myself to smile. It boosts your endorphins, makes you feel good and makes everyone in the audience engaged.

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: fearless.

Alyson Griffin | VP-Global Marketing and Communications, Intel
WIE 2016_Alyson GriffinOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

I think it is really important to trust your gut. Women in events have wonderful ideas if they trust their instincts, think about their audience and really try to push the envelope. They have the grace and the great ideas and the excitement to really drive through an experience that amazes the people that they are creating it for.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

I’ve seen people lose sight of the big picture and that customer experience. Little decisions come up along the way that are very specific to the activation, and if you don’t think about the domino effect of what that decision is going to do in terms of the bigger picture, they can really affect the outcome of the whole event.

Most-Listened-to Song on the Playlist

Nirvana is my all-time favorite band, but if you want me to pick one song, it would be “About a Girl.”

Greatest Professional Achievement

I was very fortunate to move my entire family to Geneva, Switzerland [when I was with HP] to rebuild an entire team across several countries. Much of the structure and the people are still there today, 10 years later.

Favorite Motto or Motivational Quote

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” –Vince Lombardi

Biggest Challenge Facing Women in Business Today

That question is [actually] a big challenge. Men don’t get asked, “What is the biggest challenge of being a man in business.” We still don’t have that equality and it is still seen that there is a difference between women leaders and men leaders. We’re not handicapped. We are business leaders. What a shame that we’re not given that same level of credibility or respect.

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: poised to drive experiences that amaze.

Sandy Joyce | Head of Global Event Marketing, Discover Financial Services
WIE-2016_Sandy-JoyceBest Tips for Striking a Work-Life Balance

I’ve learned how to compartmentalize. When I am at work, I am fully present, and when I am at home, I try to do the same (although I am much more successful at work). I think it helps a lot to be present where you are.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Create a strong network both in the industry and within their company, and find a mentor and a champion.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

As women, especially women that are just beginning in the industry, we struggle with being people-pleasers; being able to look at an event and what needs to happen based on the objectives, instead of [worrying] “If I do it this way, someone is going to get mad, or someone is not going to like it.”

Most-Listened-to Song on the Playlist

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. It’s about strength and determination and overcoming obstacles.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

The perception that event marketing is party planning, that the job is glamorous, that you get to travel all over the place and that it is not taken as seriously as the event marketing channel that it is. It would help us all achieve more executive support and understanding for the type of business that we are, and how we impact the bottom line.

Favorite Motto or Motivational Quote

“I am responsible for the day I create for myself.” In this industry in particular, we don’t have control over a lot of things. When something happens, it is how we react to it that really makes a difference.

Biggest Challenge Facing Women in Business Today

Even though it is changing, I still think that women face a glass ceiling. They still are not at parity with pay and promotions as their male counterparts.

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: tenacious.

Sylvia Lopez-Navarro | National Manager-Partnerships and Experiential Marketing, Kia
WIE 2016_Sylvia Lopez NavarroOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

They should never panic. You don’t want people to see you fall apart. You want to make sure that whatever the task at hand, that you complete it. And don’t get emotional. As females, often times we tend to take things very personally.

Can’t-Live-Without Professional Tool (and Why You Love it)

The data that helps me drive and make decisions for the organization. At Kia, we have a dedicated department that works on that. And I am also resourceful in [tracking] what others are doing in the space.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

The perception that event marketers are event planners. I think people have the perception that events are easy, but event management requires a very specific skill set, to be able to motivate consumers well after the event is over. I think most people don’t think of the consumer journey when they think about events in totality.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

The ability to trust the team. That the job will get done. It allows people to go beyond imagination. It allows peoples’ creative juices to come out. I believe that impacts behavior. It certainly impacts peoples’ ability to be committed to you.

Favorite Motto or Motivational Quote

“Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”

Biggest Challenge Facing Women in Business Today

I would say being seen as equal as it relates to pay, to title, to that path forward to the bigger role. I still believe in my heart of hearts there are women who are doing extraordinary things but always have to work extra hard to prove themselves.

Guiltiest Pleasure

“S” to the second power: Spa and Shoes.

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: dynamic leaders of amazing brand experiences.

Staci Parr | Director-Corporate Events, Equinix
WIE 2016_Staci ParrOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Learn to write and learn to be a good communicator. It just makes you an all-around, well-rounded person who is seen as more valuable in the workplace. If you can spin up a quick piece of writing that can be published on the web, you are miles ahead of everybody else.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Never burn a bridge because this is a small industry. Everyone you meet is a potential client or boss or advocate and particularly for women, we become stronger when we advocate for each other.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I wish we could make it move a little faster so that events can really assume their rightful place in the marketing mix. Events sometimes are cast off on the side as spectacle, but truly in an increasingly digital marketing world, events become even more important because that may be one of the only times you have a face-to-face interaction with a customer or a partner.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Authenticity. It is really easy to see through somebody who is not being authentic and it is difficult to trust them. I think authenticity is something we should bring to every aspect of our lives, but most importantly in a leadership position.

Favorite Motto or Motivational Quote

“Be brave.” It is applicable in almost any situation, whether it is a personal challenge or a work situation, or you’re walking into a big meeting.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

Be yourself. You’ll automatically adopt a more comfortable demeanor, which puts your audience at ease.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Celebrity gossip. I know way too much about who’s getting married and divorced.

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: the hardest working people in their organization.

Lauren Probyn | Director-Marketing and Events, Tinder
WIE 2016_ Lauren ProbynOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Know that not everything will be 100 percent perfect. Mistakes happen all the time. It’s about being able to fix it rather than harp on it. 

Can’t-Live-Without Professional Tool (and Why You Love it)

Spotify Premium and an auxiliary cord. I’ve been in situations where there was something wrong with the house music, and the music stopped working, so I just brought out my phone and played Spotify Premium and no one noticed a thing.

Most-Listened-to Song on the Playlist

“Tired of Talking” by Léon.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I would say the perception of being an “event planner.” I think what’s notably different from 10 years ago is that the KPIs have changed for events and they are becoming a very big part of the marketing budget at a lot of companies, and to get those budgets you have to be able to show why it is valuable. You have to be able to turn around and say we did XYZ and this is why it was successful, rather than “everyone had a great time.”

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Honesty, communication and a positive attitude.

Favorite Motto or Motivational Quote

“I’m fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world.” –Leigh Standley

Biggest Challenge Facing Women in Business Today

I don’t love that question because I think there’s been such a vast improvement. However, I think the biggest challenge is owning their accomplishments or successes. This was feedback I was given from a male mentor not too long ago. I was congratulated on a job well done and when I responded saying “It was a team effort,” he looked and me and said, “Just own it.”

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: kicking ass and taking names.

Jamie Sanyal | Global Head of Experiential Marketing, PayPal
WIE 2016_Jamie SanyalOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Underestimate yourself. I think especially in technology, there are a lot of men in senior roles, but don’t underestimate yourself. You are the expert in your field. Trust that you have the ability to do your job.

Can’t-Live-Without Professional Tool (and Why You Love it)

It is kind of old school but I absolutely live and die by my list-making. I feel like when I handwrite things, it sinks in more and I like that feeling of having my list and being able to cross things off.

If You Could Change One Thing about the industry, What Would it Be

The perception that we are just event planners.

Greatest Professional Achievement

The fact that I changed career paths mid-stream. I had been in p.r. for 10 years and switched over to events and really felt like I found my niche. That was a scary thing to do but it really paid off.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

I really like my leaders to be honest and direct. I don’t like ambiguity. I want to know how I am doing and what the expectations are.

Biggest Challenge Facing Women in Business Today

Trying to do it all. We want to be the best moms, the best wives, the best employees, give your best self. You always feel you may be doing well in one area but falling down in another. There has been attention paid to it in recent years with “Lean In” and all of that, but at the end of the day, we are all our own worst critics. That is the biggest challenge for me is how do you balance it all.

Best Piece of Advice You Have Given or Received

My dad, when I was just starting out, said make sure you treat everybody the same. I started at the very, very bottom, so I’ve been through different levels of success and have appreciated people who did the same.

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: powerful.

Donna Siclari | VP-Event Management, Strategic Marketing Group, Scholastic
WIE-2016_Donna-SiclariOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

You have to be agile. You have to be able to manage different groups of people and jump from having a conversation with the chairman of the company to having a conversation with the guys on the loading dock. I think being able to roll up your sleeves and be ready to do anything big or small is also really important.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Panic. The show must go on, you have to be a duck in the water. You have to be cool, calm and collected on top, but your legs are working fast to keep you afloat.

Can’t-Live-Without Professional Tool (and Why You Love it)

Nothing can beat a good handshake and good eye contact. It represents your character.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I would change the word “event” to “experience.” It is not about an isolated event, it is about the customer’s experience with your brand.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Really good listening skills and the ability to be fair. When you feel like you’ve been heard in the decision-making process, then you will support those decisions no matter what.

Favorite Motto or Motivational Quote

“Press on.” No matter what the obstacle is, no matter how big or small it is, you just have to say, here it comes, and press on.

Biggest Challenge Facing Women in Business Today

That there are not more companies that value female leadership. I have been able to see how important it is when a company values female leadership, so I think it is important that we as women try to keep that conversation going.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Online shopping. Sometimes I never actually check out, I just fill the cart.

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: passionate.

Angela Smith | Director, Brand & Consumer Marketing, LG Electronics
WIE 2016_Angela SmithBest Tips for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Set boundaries. Just like you set appointments to have meetings, you should set appointments for yourself. If I set a time for myself, I’m likely to do it and actually have that balance that is good for me.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Learn good habits professionally and personally that help set you up for success. Your habits reflect what is important to you. For me, I meditate every morning. Or I send thank you notes to people, set out my agenda for the day, or prepare on Friday for what I want to accomplish the following week.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Don’t take things personally. We are more expressive and connected to our emotions than men and there are great things that can come of it. But you have to make sure that it’s not getting in the way of being productive or effective.

Most-Listened-to Song on the Playlist

“Freedom” by Beyoncé.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

It would be the name “event marketer.” It is so much more than that. That name is so 1990s. What event marketers have really become are “experiential marketers.”

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Honesty, when it is convenient and when it is not convenient. I think it goes to your credibility, that people can trust you and believe in what you say, and that you won’t tell them what you think they want to hear or what is comfortable for you.

Biggest Challenge Facing Women in Business Today

Knowing our value and our worth and demanding what we know our value is. And not doubting what we bring to the table.

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: inspiring.

Jenny Stahl | Director-Global Hospitality Event Management, Visa
WIE 2016_Jenny StahlBest Tips for Striking a Work-Life Balance

An event leader needs to build a great team. You have to accept that you can’t do it all, and that you really need to trust your team to make the right decisions. Once you do that, life gets so much better.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Never be afraid to challenge a decision or speak up when your instincts and your experience is telling you there’s a better way.

Can’t-Live-Without Professional Tool (and Why You Love it)

Instagram is my new go-to place for creative ideas.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

What really makes me mad is the perception that companies who spend a lot of money on events or sponsorships do it for “fun” and have “extra,” versus a growth strategy. So many of them will cut events first, and it’s crazy, because experiences are literally the most valuable thing a company can create to grow the brand.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

I respect leaders who are doers. When you see a leader in times of crisis who doesn’t just float above, but will actually get their hands dirty—I have a lot of respect for those people.

Favorite Motto or Motivational Quote

“She slept with wolves without fear, for the wolves knew a lion was among them.”

Biggest Challenge Facing Women in Business Today

It’s still a boy’s club. I think that since the majority of ceos are men, they surround themselves with other like-minded male executives and decisions are made at that level, without diversifying. It’s really infuriating.

Guiltiest Pleasure

A good blowout. I walk around the office at least twice a week and yell, “For the love of god, will someone please wash my hair?”

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: vikings.” I watch the show “Vikings” on the History Channel, and the main woman in that show is such a badass.

Lauren Stephens | VP-US Sponsorships, MasterCard
WIE-2016_Lauren-StephensBest Tips for Striking a Work-Life Balance

I think it’s about setting boundaries, and keeping those priorities straight, so that you’re fully present in the moment. When I’m at work, I give it 110 percent, but as soon as I’m home with the family and the kids, I strive for the same.

One Thing Every Female Marketer Should Never Do

They should never lose their cool. Never let anybody see you sweat. You don’t want people seeing you getting ruffled.

Most-Listened-to Song on the Playlist

My playlist has been hijacked by my five-year-old daughter so the songs that I play the most often are either “Let it Go” from “Frozen,” or “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I would change the perception of sponsorships on the business. It’s not just about branding, it’s an opportunity to really connect with consumers in a meaningful way. Sponsorships are very powerful; you have this engagement opportunity in these conversations that can really help move the needle.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

I admire those that are creative problem-solvers and thinkers. But in order for them to do that, they have to be excellent listeners to understand the problem at hand, or what the need is, so that they can address it properly.

Favorite Motto or Motivational Quote

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself is ‘I’m possible.’” –Audrey Hepburn

Biggest Challenge Facing Women in Business Today

Maintaining an equilibrium. Being great at your job and being a great colleague and a great wife, mom, friend and contributor in the community—it’s hard, and you have to find that equilibrium. I think that is the hardest thing for women.

Finish This Sentence

“Women in events are: a force multiplier.

Roundtable: Strategies for Success

The Participants

Thirteen leading women in events speak candidly about conquering the challenges of the industry at our annual bicoastal roundtable events, this year in New York and L.A.


Dayna Adelman | Heineken USA

Ashley Albrittain-Ross Perrier

Alyson Griffin | Intel

Sandy Joyce |  Discover Financial Services

Robin Lickliter | Senior VP-Events, Sparks

Sylvia Lopez-Navarro | Kia

Staci Parr Equinix

Lauren Probyn Tinder

Jamie Sanyal |  PayPal

Donna Siclari | Scholastic

Angela Smith | LG Electronics

Jenny Stahl | Visa

Lauren Stephens | MasterCard

EVENT MARKETER: What are the unique challenges of being a woman in events?

WIE 2016_LA Roundtable 1DONNA SICLARI: For me, it’s the perception of being a woman on the event marketing team, as opposed to being one of the “conference girls.” I think that’s always been something that I’m acutely aware of. When you work for a company that values events and what their experiences are, it helps to change that perception. And I feel fortunate that I do work for a company that does value that.

But it can’t just be about these isolated events that internal stakeholders are seeing. We’re also very strategic and should be included in the strategic marketing plan. It’s not an isolated event. It’s actually a customer experience, and by creating this experience, you’re helping the customer build this incredible relationship, or build a stronger foundation with your brand and with your products. At the end of the day, budgets are not gender specific. So it’s just really about making sure that those experiences that you create have value, and then working to stand out as not just the logistical team, but part of that strategic team.

ANGELA SMITH: I think the challenges are universal across any industry or position for women. It is being seen as an equal when you’re at the table and you’re the minority in terms of gender. It’s having a lot of men there and being respected as a leader and for what value you bring through the qualities you have, and not necessarily having to be like a man to be respected or push things away that men do, and the qualities that they bring. We have value, and it’s about how we make sure that we are showing and demonstrating that and being respected in what we can bring.

ASHLEY ALBRITTAIN-ROSS: An event environment is a 24-hour job. You’re running nonstop to make it execute well and get it done. I think [the challenge] is learning to balance that 24-hour job with what’s happening personally at home and in other parts of your life. I think it’s learning how to balance work with “me,” whether it’s 50/50, 75/25, whatever it is, depending on the moment, and finding that time for you as well.

STACI PARR: I think that many of us opt out [of career opportunities] for the reasons that it is just too hard to take on a leadership role and what that entails and still be true to our families and to raising our kids and being a wife and a mother. Those things are really important, but what happens then is that we don’t have women in leadership that then advocate for the next generation and advocate for working conditions and schedule adjustments and things that really do allow a working mom to achieve different things. That is the biggest challenge facing women in business today, lack of women leadership, which is completely understandable why a lot of us don’t get to that position.

JENNY STAHL: And then breaking barriers. I mean, it’s really hard to break into this industry, it’s really hard to stay in this industry. I feel like every year that goes by, more and more women are recognized for their talents in this industry. And I think it is the hardest job ever. I feel like we should all win Nobel Peace Prizes—or the Lotto.

SANDY JOYCE: We really have to make sure that we’re emphasizing how we’re driving consideration for our companies, and what our impact is to the bottom line. The customer experience is number one for us, and I think we create those environments through which business is driven. And because we do that, I think that gives us legitimacy in the event world, that perhaps maybe we wouldn’t have had before when we were purely logistics a few years ago. So I think it’s that strategy piece and making sure that the upper leadership teams understand and know what we do is key, and that they can see our value. I think that makes us legitimate in what we’re doing.

SYLVIA LOPEZ-NAVARRO: That’s been the biggest issue for me, the perception that we’re event planners. No one’s really thinking about all the touchpoints and everything that you had to build over the months to make it happen. At the end of the day, on my team we’re like, “Look, we’re warriors of what we do. We create unique experiences for amazing brands, that’s what we do. We are not party planners or event planners.” But I think until they see the boots on the ground and when you’re in action they kind of have a different respect for you.

EM: How has the role of women in event marketing evolved? And where are the greatest opportunities today?

WIE 2016_LA Roundtable 3DS: I started out doing logistics for conferences, for all these individual businesses within my company. The goal was to manage and to meet their business needs. But what evolved was that it was no longer just about those siloed divisions, it was about overall corporate experiences. So you’re now translating these marketing business strategies into something three-dimensional. And the internal stakeholders suddenly realized, “Oh, there is value in this.” That’s how I’ve seen it grow from my experience.

AA: It’s almost evolved from being more of a transactional event to an opportunity to spark a longterm conversation and spark these longterm relationships. It’s a larger strategy that you’re then building and developing around the brand.

SJ: It’s going back to having a seat at the table. We fought a few years ago to really get that seat. Now we have the seat. So what are we going to do with it? Everybody’s talking about events and how it’s one of the top, if not the top marketing channels that we have, and that it’s really driving the business. Probably running neck-in-neck with digital. That integration across everything, really, I think is what’s putting women more in the forefront.

JAMIE SANYAL: More and more companies are recognizing the value of experiential. So they’re investing in it more. So that’s a huge opportunity. I think that calling it experiential marketing or event marketing gives it more credibility.

LAUREN PROBYN: Tech is continuing to grow and expand outside of San Francisco into places like L.A. and New York. And I think that’s really where everything’s going, which is why I took the job at Tinder, to be honest. They came to me and they asked me if I wanted to be there. It was a no-brainer, because that’s where this entire industry is going.

JE.S: About 10 years ago with events, you’d have so many ideas that were just outside of the realm of possibility, but now anything’s possible. There are so many more elements of innovation so I think there’s not anything that you couldn’t think of that you couldn’t actually try to activate these days.

I spent so many years saying, “God, we should really think of a better way to do this,” and I never had the time to do it because I was so in the details. But I think being able, from a career standpoint, to step back and to make time in your schedule to thoughtfully think strategy through, and to really understand the changing marketplace, is only going to help your events. Because at least for me, at Visa, our events are smarter, they align better with company goals, they’re easier to track and measure, they’re more innovative.

SN: It’s really interesting to see how much has changed, because now you’re focused on every touchpoint, the brand strategy, the measurement, the social media, the digital avenue, how is the demographic and the psychographic makeup driving this event. It’s so much more than what it used to be 10 or 15 years ago. And maybe before it was seen as a tactic, right? You’re doing this event as kind of a check-off. Now I really view it as a strategy in its own regard, where it’s not just, “Here’s another event.” It’s something that’s really driving the bottom line.

AS: It’s interesting even as you see how the title has changed from event marketer to experiential or marketing. It’s showing that now there’s a respect, that it’s all about engagement and how events now allow that opportunity for engagement, and given that women had started from there to now where we are, there’s an opportunity for us to really show the value beyond just being an event marketer. That we are an important part of the marketing mix, the marketing toolkit, to drive that engagement, that brands are very desperate for now.

EM: What unique skills, backgrounds or talents should a woman have to be successful in events today?

WIE-2016_LA-Roundtable-7LAUREN STEPHENS: I’m smiling because I think that everyone here in this room has this personality trait, and when it comes to events, it’s about perfectionism. There’s always a lot of Type A personalities in sponsorships because the devil is in the details. So, in terms of finding that person, it’s somebody who really has an eye for detail, and perseverance and a positive can-do attitude. Those are the things that I think are mission critical for success.

And somebody who is also strategic and is multi-dimensional, because you need to be able to juggle a lot of things, but you have to have a vision of where you’re going and stay tight to that vision, otherwise, if you go slightly astray, you’re not going to hit your end result.

AA: You have to be a risk-taker because to break those barriers and to break out of the traditional norms of what people are consuming these days, you have to take those risks and stand behind them and constantly be seeking out something extraordinary. My consumers are the people that I’m engaging with. They want something different. They want something that’s going to take them out of their ordinary situation or out of the norm of their life and the routine schedule, and really have something that they can own as well. So I think the more that you can seek that extraordinary opportunity or seek that extraordinary experience, I think that allows you to succeed in the space.

LS: Absolutely. And somebody who asks the question, “Would I enjoy this personally? Can I do this?” You always want people to be wowed. And like, what’s the pizzazz? What’s the frosting on the event that makes it really unique and special? And I always ask myself, “Would I talk about it? Would I share it? Would I want other people to know about what I just experienced?” And I think that is something you bring as you’re developing what your activation might look like, because you want, at the end of the day, everybody to say, “I have to tell so and so.” It’s the desire to be viral.

DS: I also think that as an event marketer, you have to be completely agile. I always say to people, “I go a mile wide, but an inch deep.” I have to know a little bit about everything. I have to know what my internal client wants. I have to know what the customer needs are. I have to understand how a graphics house works. I have to understand how the A/V guy works. You have to manage volunteers. You have to drive all these cross-divisional, cross-functional teams and still be very involved in reporting the strategy and the results to management.

SJ: I think it’s about building relationships as well. It’s critical that you’re able to build relationships with your client, with your management, with the vendors that you work with, all your suppliers. You have to be able to work well with all different varieties of people that are touching your event.

Robin Lickliter: It’s not about gender, it’s about confidence. It’s about being confident about how you’re delivering the information that you have, whether you know it a mile wide and an inch deep, or you know it a mile deep, because you have to have that same confidence regardless. I think that takes time. It takes good leadership. It takes good mentoring of people and especially junior people who think they already have it.

AS: And I would add that, beyond the soft skills that are really important when you’re managing a client, things that we find most valuable are when we have an experiential partner or agency that understands the broader marketing mix. They can think beyond just their lane about the big picture and bring value from that perspective. Because it all needs to be integrated now. It can’t be just one siloed, one-off type of activity. They all need to work better. And one plus one then equals three or five, you know? So that’s really where I think the most value is for most women, is to make sure that you know beyond just your one area or industry.

DS: I also think there’s value in not only being creative for the customer, but being creative for your team. Because so many times we get in this event rut, and you almost feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again. You really want to help your internal groups by pushing them a little bit, to think a little bit differently or think outside of the box—things that will help them get to that next level. You want them to open up. I think that’s part of motivating your team and all those groups that you have to work with.

SN: You definitely have to be flexible and really know your audience, first and foremost. Understand what the ultimate goal of the event is and how that event rolls up into the overall objectives of what corporate has set out. Ensuring that there’s some sort of alignment is really important, and understanding the ultimate goal and if there’s a return on investment. If you’re trying to sell something, are you going to be able to achieve that by what you’ve presented? And what do you want people to remember from this event, when they walk out that door? When they’re going through this incredible experience, what happens when they leave? What is the thing you’re asking them to do?

JE.S: I always tell my team, and I have this mindset going into any event or meeting, that it’s business, it’s not personal. I take feedback that way as well. I don’t take anything personally, even though nobody wants to exceed expectations more than I do. I think that’s really important.  It’s important to keep in mind if you want to be successful, especially as a woman in business.

LP: I think the difference between men and women is women have that attention to detail. I think it’s just in our nature, it’s what we do on a daily basis. But you can’t get overly focused on the details, because most of the time people won’t even notice them. It’s always very important to remember that you’re on the planning side of it, so you’re going to be very focused on those details. But you have to step back and remember that things aren’t going to be 100 percent [perfect], and that’s OK. Just make sure you’re cool, calm and collected, is the best advice I could give anybody.

JA.S: Being really confident and calm is super important, but I think the other thing that goes along with that for me is communicating with the bazillion stakeholders for an event, some of whom will just fixate and freak out about the smallest little thing. You have to be able to communicate to them and say, “Yes, I understand that is so important to you, and I’m going to make sure that is taken care of,” so they feel respected and important. To be able to deliver that message and pull that off is something I try to do.

JE.S: I have learned what details you share, and what details do you not share. We plan really amazing details and none of those ever get shared at any sort of executive level. We don’t open ourselves up to that, because they don’t understand events like we do.

EM: Women make up the majority of the event industry, yet still face many of the same challenges as women in other sectors when it comes to being offered promotions and leadership opportunities. Have you had to overcome obstacles that your male counterparts didn’t? And if so, how did you overcome them?

DS: I don’t know if it’s gender specific, but in my career there were times when I would hear about internal teams planning an event and I would give myself the OK to invite myself to the party. Pardon the pun, but that’s what I thought was what I needed to do. It felt a bit like a stereotypical move that a man would make, where they would just go into a meeting and say, “Hey, I heard about this product launch. Why are we not doing this at this conference? Or why are we not thinking about that?” As opposed to what a woman might do, which is not say something or hold back a little bit.

AS: It’s changing, but I think just because we’re opinionated or we have a strong point of view, we shouldn’t feel like we have to apologize because men don’t always apologize. And we shouldn’t be considered a bitch just because we are forceful or take up a strong stance or position.

RL: I think it was my own lack of confidence, to be honest. It had nothing to do with anyone else but myself and not asking or not thinking I was ready for the next step in my career or taking on that additional responsibility. That was my own personal experience. And then, living through a couple of chapters of, “Why am I not doing this” or, “Why don’t I have this job?” and finally saying, “I can do this job.” So I think a lot of it just has to do with confidence.

AS: I absolutely agree. I think the biggest obstacles I have faced have been just the belief that I can do it or that I belong here.

SJ: And I think it’s also changing perceptions, too; the perception of where we were a few years ago versus where we are and bringing in that strategy piece, which is obviously what the company wants to see and how we’re moving forward. From my own personal experience, having to change the perceptions of executive management or what it is our team does, what our strategy is, how valuable are we, how do we drive consideration, has been something that I’ve personally had to work on and that’s an obstacle for us for sure.

LS: Don’t be afraid to share some things. It’s not tooting your own horn, I think it’s just about sharing so that others can benefit. And then, people will see the value that you bring to the table and that you have a lot to contribute.

DS: And it comes, too, with your experience, after you’ve had a couple of those under your belt, then your confidence, your self worth is growing. And then, you learn or you’re able to figure out when is that right time to ask for that promotion, or when is that right time for whatever you need at that moment, that you feel like you’re deserving of. It’s knowing when to ask.

EM: What do you wish you had known when you started out in events?

WIE-2016_LA-Roundtable-6JE.S: Don’t forget the big picture. I think everyone around this table knows what it feels like to fly the plane and paint it at the same time. So, even on a weekly basis, I will say to my team, because we’re planning so fast, “Everybody stop. Are we doing the right thing?” I think that you have to constantly check in with yourself, because sometimes you’re just moving at such a quick speed that you forget the overall goals, not only company goals, but event goals. It’s a day-to-day fight, for sure.

DS: Know how to motivate a team, but be an active participant in that team. It’s such a critical component of it. No task is too big or small. You will stuff bags at night and then be ready to give the chairman a rundown in the morning.

AA: Find what you love to do and what you’re passionate about, because stuffing bags at night won’t be that bad if you love the job that you’re in and where you’re going with it.

AS: Get comfortable evangelizing what you’ve done. I think that’s something that as women, we don’t do because we don’t want to seem like we are braggadocios or egotistical, but those opportunities don’t come if people don’t know what you’ve done and what you’ve achieved.

RL: You have to build your personal brand. And you’re the only person that can do that. It’s important. And have a firm handshake. I hope that everyone knows that by now.

LS: First impressions are last impressions, right? So definitely. It’s being confident in yourself when you meet people, by shaking their hand and looking them in the eye.

SJ: And I think for young women, or anyone, really, who’s coming into this profession, I think it really makes sense to find a mentor in this industry that you can trust, that you can learn from, that will really help you grow and develop in all those areas. It can help you navigate. That’s something that I found really valuable when I first made the career switch, mining those people to help support me through my efforts.

EM: Speaking of mentors, what advice would you give to up-and-coming event marketers just starting out?

LS: Just know that nothing is going to go according to plan. And just be comfortable with that and embrace it, and then identify an alternate solution. Be fast on your feet and be able to problem solve quickly. You can never lose your cool and let them see you sweat. Have a plan in place and have a plan B, C, D and E. It’s never going to be perfect. And you’re not always going to get praised. People are very generous, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t get that pat on the back.

AS: Be a sponge. Be there. Be willing to jump in wherever you’re needed. The best interns or people starting out are those that are passionate or willing to say, “Oh, I’ll do this. You need this done? I’m not too big to do anything. Let me do it. I don’t know it all.” Acknowledge you don’t know it all, because you don’t when you’re starting out. You don’t get to be the leader overnight. Don’t expect that, “Oh, I’m here. I should be president.” It’s not going to happen. So you just need to be a sponge and get the experience you need.

SJ: You have to get used to working 24/7. So even if you’re not at work, your head is. And if you love this field and you really embrace it, you become kind of an adrenaline junkie, for lack of a better word. I see that with my team as well, that we function best when we’re at this [higher] level instead of at this [lower] level because that’s who we are and that’s how we’re wired. And that’s why we can accomplish so much and have such great success is because we operate at that higher level, that buzz level.

AA: I think it’s important to be OK with failing and taking that risk and saying, “This might not work, but it’s different or it’s something that I believe in,” so I’m going to go for it. And if it does fail, then yeah, it’s on me, I went that way. But I think not taking those risks would be a loss. It’s about stepping up and going, “I’m going to try something new. I’m going to try something that is putting me outside the box.”

EM: What confidence boosters have you learned along the way that have been helpful for you?

WIE 2016_LA Roundtable 5RL: You have to peel the emotion out of it, which I think is a little harder for women than men, based on how we’re wired. I’ve learned over the years to not have a really tough or important conversation when I’m really emotionally charged, because there will most likely be tears. That doesn’t get you anywhere. I think that especially when you have a male leadership team, they expect women to be more emotionally charged.

DS: I always remind myself that anyone who’s come before me, anyone I’ve ever admired, the most successful person in the world, has also been in the same situation or a similar situation that I feel right now. Whatever it is that I’m going through, they’ve had their own challenges, too. So when I think about it from that point of view, then I just feel like, “OK, I could press on. I’m just going to press on and get this done right now.” If you have a big presentation and you’re looking at this big group of people, at some point, every single person in that audience had to do something that they were nervous about. It takes the edge off just a tiny bit.

LS: And just know that you’re the subject matter expert, right? So when you’re going to these meetings, you make sure you have a seat and you voice your opinion because nobody knows your specialty better than you. And I think that that’s one thing we have to always tell ourselves, because it’s mission critical. We should be our own ambassadors and we need to be able to be there to share what we know is right. And if we don’t say anything, we’re only doing ourselves a disservice.

ALYSON GRIFFIN: The best way is to be prepared and to practice. It sounds crazy, but for me, if there is a meeting I’m about to go into, I have my facts, I know the story, the narrative of what we are discussing, I’ve practiced it, I’m confident.

SJ: I think even if you don’t feel confident, so long as you look confident, it doesn’t matter. Have a voice, even if you’re scared witless. And nobody has to know it except you. I’ve developed skills over the years if I’m really shaking in a meeting to sit [a certain way] or I’ll do something to stop it from happening. So I present very calmly and collected and confident, but I may not be feeling that way at all.

To me there’s a quality you have to have, and it encompasses being able to make tough decisions, being able to stay true to the path and following the objective that each event has, the objective for your overall team, having the strength and the courage to make the tough decisions, being able to communicate up and out, following through, following up, it is all of those things.

LS: Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know the answer, let me get back to you,” versus going and trying to flub. Because it’s spinning, and it’s better to take a break and call it a day. Write it down and then get back to them in an email or send it to the group so that everybody knows, “Hey, I followed up on your question,” and address what they’re looking for, because otherwise, you start to lose your own credibility.

AS: You have to be authentic. And even in those times where I may feel nervous or jittery, I remind myself, that is an indicator that I’m growing. That means it’s an opportunity, that I’m stretching myself. If I’m always just, “Oh, this is easy, I’ve done it,” then it’s like I’m coasting and I want my goal, regardless of what my title or what promotion it is to constantly be evolving and growing and being engaged. I embrace these moments.

DS: It means that you care. If you’re worried about it or you’re nervous about it, you care about what you’re about to say or what you’re about to do, which I think is critical.

JE.S: I feel like confidence just comes from experience, and from knowing the materials. It’s taken me years to be able to walk into a ceo meeting and be able to present and not second-guess myself. Like, listen, I’ve done it every other way, and this is the right way to do it, and I know that because it’s been trial and error for a very long time.

JA.S: I think there is an imposter syndrome that we get that is not talked about. But I read articles about it, I talk to other women, too, who feel like we are faking it a little bit. Then you realize you can do your job. You know what you are doing. I definitely have felt that personally and with other women who I’ve talked to who are very successful, it’s a bit of “fake it ‘til you make it.” Then you realize, hey, I know what I’m doing.

EM: Women statistically still shoulder the majority of the responsibilities in the home. How do you strike a work-life balance?

WIE 2016_LA Roundtable 2SP: When people ask me this, and I have five kids, I always ask if there is such a thing because I don’t know if there truly is. I say that if you can get comfortable living inside a tornado, you are going to be great at managing your job and your family, and also events, because events are just kind of a mini tornado spinning around and you have to get used to spinning with it and juggling a lot of things at the same time. Big things, little things, down to really minimal details that seem very insignificant but have a huge impact on how your attendees’ experience your event.

I guess that my mantra has been kind of a survival mantra, for me, just juggle as many things as you can, keep as many balls in the air as you can, and if you’re good at that, you’ll probably be very successful in events as well.

LS: We all have our own juggles, but it’s important to be comfortable leaning on your spouse, your partner, family or friends, and not be afraid to ask for help. I certainly know I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband and my family. I have two young kids, and a full time career that is not a job—it’s a career. So, it’s important that I’m able to do both but remember that I can’t do everything. I know that it’s a sacrifice, but you sacrifice for each other. Part of that is feeling comfortable with asking for help and knowing there’s no way you’re superwoman, although we all are super women in our own ways.

AR: I think it’s building that support system around you with family, peers, colleagues, friends, whoever it is. People that you can rely on 100 percent, whether it’s work-based or whether it’s personal. I have people that are constantly checking in, that are keeping me in check and saying, “I haven’t seen you. Let’s hang out.” Or, “Have you followed up on this?” So I’ve got people that are constantly balancing my life as well as me balancing my own life.

JA.S: I have two small kids, and I have a rough commute, so I don’t get to see them during the day, I get home late. So I try to really make an effort to put the phone away from the time I get home until the kids go to bed, to have dinner together, time together, stories, baths, the whole thing. And then pick it back up. It’s a little bit of a double-edged sword, because I don’t want my team to think that I’m sending emails at 9 o’clock at night, and I expect them to respond. So I have to communicate that to them, that “This is just what works for me, and let’s talk about what works for you.” But I need to have that time with my babies and my husband, just to recharge.

JE.S: I think it’s all about hiring an amazing team. As event leaders we need to empower that team to make decisions and then we need to trust that the team is making the right decisions on our behalf. Once you finally let people help you, life gets just a little bit easier. I’m a details girl, and I’ve always really loved to be in the details, and it’s really hard for me, and my team would verify, that it’s hard for me not to be in those details. But I think that every year that goes by I certainly get better at it.

LP: At my previous job I was asking questions of my team that they were clearly capable of handling, and they turned around said, “Can you just delegate, for once?” While I was mortified, I realized [they were right] and said, “You’re right. I trust you.”

SN: I have two beautiful children, one seven and one nine. And so to me it’s really hard to talk about work-life balance, because honestly it doesn’t exist, or at least for me it doesn’t. But the one thing that I don’t do, even though I may have a 14-hour day, I do not sacrifice certain assemblies at school or things that are important to me. If there’s a business dinner where one of my really good girlfriends is getting an award, I will make time to be present, because at the end of the day, in the world of automotive, there’s a lot of automotive companies picking up and moving out of state. So I’m thinking, “What if tomorrow I will be left without that job that you held on to for dear life?” and then you look around and you find yourself pretty lonely. Why? Because you never made time for anyone else.

I spend my professional life creating experiences for other people, making them feel a certain way, having a certain expectation when they come to one of our events. And so that same energy and effort, I actually put it back in my home, whether it’s creating a sensory journey at night for bedtime for them, dimming the lights, music, whatever, that lemongrass mist is throughout the house, that’s me.

RL: I totally agree with being present. I think that is, hands down, the most important thing you can possibly do, especially with the never-ending cycle of work, around the clock, day, night, weekends, travel, social media, just being on your phone.  Making that effort to put your phone away when you’re eating dinner. Even if it’s an hour a night, between coming home, eating and getting back online. It’s really important.

It’s also creating those boundaries within your team. I have a client whose sacred time is her Friday nights with her husband and her two kids. And she works around the clock all the time, but her team knows that’s what she needs—it’s her one rule. It’s not a lot to ask, but communicating that stuff out so people can help you have the time you need to do whatever that is. You’re not going to get that on every level, but I think with your own team you can manage that.

SJ: One thing that our company does really well is put flexibility in our schedules. We have a two-day-a-week work from home policy, which is really helpful, to maintain that work-life balance.

EM: Do you think wage disparity is an issue in the event industry? What salary and negotiating tips can you offer other women?

WIE 2016_LA Roundtable 4DS: It depends on the company you work for and if they value events. Then, how you negotiate salary. And I think it’s not how you negotiate, but when you negotiate is really the critical thing.

I remember one time I had a former boss who, when all of the personal assessments came in, shared with me how everyone rated themselves as “excellent.” And she’s like, “If everyone’s excellent, then no one is.” Just doing your job doesn’t mean you’re excellent. And so, you have to have that compelling reason. There’s a compelling reason why you know that it’s time to negotiate for your salary.

SJ: I think maybe overall in the event industry, our salaries are probably lower than counterparts in sales or counterparts who are doing some similar types of strategies. We’re probably a lower salary profession, which is just my take on it.

JE.S: When it comes to negotiation, which I recently went through, I did two things: I gave a salary range and the lowest number of that salary range was my ideal salary, and then I backed that up with numbers. Facts don’t lie, right? So, when I was at Univision, in one year, I drove X percentage of ROI, we signed this many new business contracts. Nobody can argue statistics. And at the end of the day events do attract business. And so if you’re really, really good at measuring ROI, as I think everybody is trying to be, then you should certainly use those statistics to your benefit, because people love to talk dollars. What you’re going to do for them. And if you can back that up, they’ll give you the money that you want.

RL: Totally agree. And you can’t be afraid to ask, and you can’t expect it. Some people make the mistake of expecting to be rewarded for good work, but I think that companies are large, whether it’s brand side or agency side, and there are a lot of individuals contributing to a lot of really great work. You don’t deserve a promotion for just showing up every day.

JA.S: When I started, I thought, “OK, if I just do a good job and I don’t ask for it, I’ll get promoted.” And that worked for quite a long time, every couple years, [I’d go] up the ladder. And then I second-guessed myself, thinking, maybe I’m not ready. But then I realized all the people around me are getting promoted because they’re asking. I think maybe that comes with being female, a little bit, that “Why should I have to ask? I don’t feel comfortable asking about this.” So I had to go in and finally get pissed, to be honest, and say, “Look, this is all I’ve done and this is what I need.” And it worked.

LP: Saying you’re good at your job versus showing how you’re good at your job is very different. It’s just having the confidence to say, “I know that I can do this, and this is why and this is what I’ve done, and this is what I’m asking for, and in order to be here, this is what I want.”

And I think that it doesn’t hurt to show why you love the company, why you want to be there. I think people forget that in negotiations. You’re there for the brand, you’re there for the department or whatever makes you want to work for that company.  And I think it doesn’t hurt to touch on that and say, “This is why I want to be here. And this is what’s going to keep me here. And this is what I can do for you.”

SN: I think that execution helps keep your job, but innovation helps with the promotion. And so if you’re able to justify and show the “first” for the company, or new measurements or significant growth in one area or things that you could actually contribute to an actual measurement, then you have a story to tell.

And that’s when the conversation could definitely be a safe one, to say, “Can we talk about my situation?  Here’s what I was brought in to do. Here’s how I achieved it. But furthermore, here’s a unique ‘first’ for the brand.

Women in Events Bookshelf

Our Women in Events special report offers insights from some of the best and brightest females in the industry. In our roundtable discussions with this year’s crop of leading ladies, we heard about mutual concerns like balancing home and work life and breaking the glass ceiling—but we also got a little more personal. Every great trailblazer finds inspiration in other leaders, so to find out what makes this year’s Women in Events tick, we asked them to share the books and TED Talks that have influenced them the most. Here, we take a look at a few of their recommendations.


WIE_nice girls book“NICE GIRLS DON’T GET THE CORNER OFFICE” (Lois P. Frankel)

“I went into it thinking, ‘I don’t know if this is really going to teach me anything.’ And then, there’s something about the way the book is written. It gives case studies of the top challenges and issues that women face, and what the typical female does in order to handle them in the workplace environment. And sometimes, it’s not until you read something like that, that you realize, ‘Oh, yeah, I actually do that, too. I’m guilty of that.’”
-Dayna Adelman, corporate social responsibility manager, Heineken USA


WIE_the alchemist“THE ALCHEMIST” (Paulo Coelho)

“A book that I always keep close and is always on my shelf and I look at from time to time. It is a fantastic book, good for soul searching, and within that story are two quotes that I keep with me, and I think relate back to both personal and professional [life]: ‘There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve—the fear of failure’ and ‘The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.’ I keep them close and remind myself of them in terms of reaching higher and continuing to pursue your dreams.”
-Ashley Albrittain-Ross, marketing manager, Perrier


WIE_pillars of earth“PILLARS OF THE EARTH” (Ken Follett)

“I read it a long time ago but think about it often. It’s set in the 12th century and is about a priest and a builder who come together to bring this little town to greatness through their vision of building an amazing cathedral… I always thought it was kind of like business, and you have this crazy idea of something you want to do, no one has ever done it, people are nay-saying and you have to get the team inspired to help you. You need their manpower and support, and you have to transfer knowledge… I feel there are a lot of lessons in it for everyday life and business, and inspiring people to stick to their goals.”
-Alyson Griffin, vp-global marketing and communications, Intel



“It is all about creating innovation within your team and how it is a journey, and about problem solving and trial and error situations or processes that they use. She has authored a book called “Collective Genius,” so she talks about how innovation does not occur by individual genius but only occurs through collective genius. She is a psychologist, so she looks at it through that lens.” -Sandy Joyce, head of global event marketing, Discover Financial Services


WIE_the 4 agreements“THE FOUR AGREEMENTS” (Don Miguel Ruiz)

“It is really a practical guide to personal freedom and I use it both in my professional and personal life, and I use it with my team as well. It is a very basic read but it is a very impactful and meaningful read. The four agreements are to be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best. That is something that I live by, and that book has a lot of meaning to me.”
-Sylvia Lopez-Navarro, national manager-partnerships and experiential marketing, Kia



“BEFORE I DIE” (Candy Chang)

“I don’t mean to get a little heavy here, but she is an artist and she did this public art project [and TED Talk] where she took abandoned spaces and had the community fill in the blank, basically, fill in the sentence, ‘Before I die.’ It was just a really inspiring and powerful message that challenges you to rethink your life and community and neighbors in a totally different way.” -Donna Siclari, vp-event management, strategic marketing group, Scholastic


WIE_Freakonomics“FREAKONOMICS” (Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt)

“Being a traditionally liberal arts thinker, I always shied away from analytics and data and what I would consider more math skills, and that book really did open my eyes to the importance of not being afraid of numbers and thinking about numbers in a way that can be pulled apart and reassembled differently based on what you are trying to convey.” -Staci Parr, director-corporate events, Equinix

In Print: The Covers

Introducing our first-ever four-part cover series to shine a light on the collective force that is women in events. Which cover did you get? 


Jamie Sanyal, Global Head-Experiential Marketing, PayPal

Jamie Sanyal, Global Head-Experiential Marketing, PayPal

Jenny Stahl, Director-Global Hospitality Event Management, Visa

Jenny Stahl, Director-Global Hospitality Event Management, Visa

Lauren Probyn, Director-Marketing and Events, Tinder

Lauren Probyn, Director-Marketing and Events, Tinder

Sylvia Lopez-Navarro, National Manager-Partnerships and Experiential Marketing, Kia

Sylvia Lopez-Navarro, National Manager-Partnerships and Experiential Marketing, Kia

This story appeared in the August 2016 issue

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